Mumbler Review: The Christmas Experience at Lotherton
Trips to see Santa have come a long way since I last had to queue for an hour in the local shopping centre to sit on someone’s knee, and now as a parent there is so much choice of where to take my children.
My, nearly four year old, daughter will happily have a conversation with someone, but is unlikely to fully appreciate an immersive winter wonderland experience. With that in mind, I decided to take her to Lotherton Hall to meet Santa in the Elf Village, which is an alternative to their “Santa’s North Pole”, and is aimed at pre-schoolers. As you can’t pre-book to see Santa in the Elf Village, we arrived for the opening time of 10am to guarantee a slot. Once booked, we went to the play area before coming back to the Elf Village in time to meet Santa.
Having an allocated time meant there was no queuing or waiting, and we were led by a very friendly elf to the door of Santa’s cabin. Once inside, the atmosphere was very welcoming and Santa was as jolly as could be. We sat on a bench next to him as he encouraged my daughter to speak and listened patiently while she asked him for a real dinosaur for Christmas. He did warn her that dinosaurs tend to frighten his reindeer but he would see what he could do. After around five minutes of conversation it was the end of our visit and my daughter received a gift of a plush soft toy puppet badger, which she is very taken with.
We spent the remainder of the day exploring the rest of Lotherton’s Christmas Experience. Within the Elf Village, there are craft activities which you buy tokens for. These are £3 for one or £10 for four. I bought four and my daughter made a Papier mache tree decoration, a cracker with a snowflake cookie cutter inside, and decorated a plate and a mug. At £2.50 per activity, the plate and mug felt the best value for money, as we will probably still use them after Christmas, and it wasn’t the type of activity we would usually do at home.
After spending time in the Elf Village, we did the 12 Days of Christmas walk. This is a gentle walk taking you through the famous song. We walked through it in broad daylight, but I think it would be more magical at dusk, as everything is lit up, which is harder to see during the day. We enjoyed the interactivity of a lot of the scenes, such as trying to knock down eggs for “six geese a-laying” and playing the pipe organ for “eleven pipers piping”. As it is a flat path all the way round, it isn’t too tiring for little legs, and would be manageable with a pram.
The walk brings you out at the house, which is definitely worth popping into. Every room is currently decorated for Christmas, with Christmas trees, presents, food etc. It made a good game of trying to spot different things in each room, which helped keep my daughter interested, rather than hurrying from room to room. If you need an excuse for five minutes relaxation, or small legs need a break from walking, there is a room set up with children’s Christmas books and dressing up clothes. This provided a welcome rest after all the walking we had been doing in the cold.
With all the activities, visiting santa, and having lunch, we spent five hours at Lotherton’s Christmas Experience, and that didn’t give us much time looking around Wildlife World (other than watching the penguins), so compared to my childhood experiences of trips to see Santa, this was definitely more enjoyable for everyone!
For more information on The Christmas Experience at Lotheron, click here